NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) Senior Counsel Alexis Hoag argued today before the Ohio Supreme Court that Glen Bates’ trial counsel failed to protect his constitutional right to an impartial jury by allowing an individual who expressed unequivocal racial bias against Black people to serve on the jury that convicted and sentenced Mr. Bates to death. In February 2018, LDF filed an amicus brief on behalf of Mr. Bates, who is African-American.
In her argument, Senior Counsel Hoag emphasized that the trial proceeding was infected with racial bias, which the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions prohibit. Specifically, she highlighted that on the pretrial jury questionnaire, one of the prospective jurors wrote that she strongly believed Black people were more violent than people of other races. Despite this clear expression of a noxious racial stereotype, trial counsel for Mr. Bates failed to take any protective action and allowed the death penalty trial to proceed before a jury that harbored racial bias against Black people.
Watch Alexis’ oral argument below (her argument begins at 18:04 and her rebuttal begins at 49:50):
Read LDF’s amicus brief here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.